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Students aim to break Nurburgring Nordschleife record with hybrid electric car


July 8, 2014

A team of engineering students want their hybrid racing concept to set a new Nürburgring l...

A team of engineering students want their hybrid racing concept to set a new Nürburgring lap record

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In 1983, racing car driver Stefan Bellof set a Nürburgring lap time of 6 mins 11 secs in his Porsche 956. This record remains unbroken, despite many attempts to do so by some of the biggest names in the automotive industry using the most stratospherically powerful and technologically advanced cars in the world. Despite all of this, a team of ambitious engineering students from the Netherlands plans not only to beat this record with a hybrid racing prototype of their own design, but to go on to race and win at Le Mans in the very same vehicle.

The vehicle planned to perform these feats is dubbed the IM01, and was designed by students from the Technical University of Eindhoven and the Fontys University of Applied Sciences. Powered by four individual electric motors – one per wheel – and fitted with regenerative braking, the car also uses a rotary engine to supply extra energy to charge the on-board batteries.

No details have been released yet as to the power or performance of either the electric motors or the rotary engine, but the team intend to run the engine at a fixed RPM with the intention to provide an ambitious 60 percent efficiency.

In the interim to building the prototype, the student builders plan to use a test vehicle to research the many and varied technologies being developed. This test vehicle – the IM/e – is based on a bio-ethanol sports car concept developed by three recently-graduated engineers, and will be used for extensive prototyping, on-track testing, and proof of engineering concepts.

The proposed IM/e test vehicle
The proposed IM/e test vehicle

To start this stage of testing, it is claimed that all the team needs now is for a partner to step in and help fund the project, and work can begin on kitting out the already-molded IM/e body. Once constructed, the group then intends to test it on race tracks and hill climb events in both Germany and Great Britain.

The IM01 concept is certainly an ambitious project, and the student engineers have set themselves some incredibly high targets to achieve with this vehicle. And they won't have any shortage of competition in their class at Le Mans, either; Nissan has been the fastest hybrid around that circuit with its ZEOD RC and Audi took first and second place with its Audi R18 e-tron Quattro there in 2012.

Similar projects to the IM01 with far less lofty ideals have failed to even get off the drawing board, let alone go on to achieve world-beating victories. But if enthusiasm and ambition was all that was needed to win Le Mans, this team's aspirations alone would see them in with a fighting chance.

Source: Technical University of Eindhoven

About the Author
Colin Jeffrey Colin discovered technology at an early age, pulling apart clocks, radios, and the family TV. Despite his father's remonstrations that he never put anything back together, Colin went on to become an electronics engineer. Later he decided to get a degree in anthropology, and used that to do all manner of interesting things masquerading as work. Even later he took up sculpting, moved to the coast, and never learned to surf.   All articles by Colin Jeffrey

Not that it affects lap time, and I do love rotary engines but they are not particularly efficient or clean running.

9th July, 2014 @ 11:29 am PDT

But they are compact. What size do you think would be required a continuous charge to 4 batteries and the rest of the electricals?

9th July, 2014 @ 01:54 pm PDT

I've been driving rotary powered RX7's for 25 years and Slowburn is right, they're not very efficient but their lack of efficiency stands out at idle and low rpm where port overlap (similar to intake and exhaust valves being open at the same time briefly on each cycle) causes dilution of the fresh mixture with exhaust gases.

At higher rpm you can find a sweet spot where the efficiency is much better and this engine will presumably be set to run at that rpm.

The big advantage of rotaries is their very high power to weight ratio and only 5 moving parts. You often see them in applications where weight is an issue such as the ill fated Moller Skycar.

9th July, 2014 @ 02:48 pm PDT

Ho Hum

Some university students plan to set a new lap record at Nürburgring , win Le Mans and do it with a car that can achieve %60 percent efficiency.

Come on Gizmag , is this a slow news day? I have a better chance of winning the 6/49 lottery than these kids even getting a running prototype moving under its own power.

"But if enthusiasm and ambition was all that was needed to win Le Mans, this team's aspirations alone would see them in with a fighting chance"


If they build something then let us know until then they are just a bunch of dreamers.

Captain Danger
9th July, 2014 @ 08:27 pm PDT

@ Captain Danger

These "kids" are Engineering Majors they earned there grades didn't get As just for showing up.

10th July, 2014 @ 04:03 am PDT

@ Slowburn

Even if these kids did get 'A's' that doesn't mean that this is a story.

If they even get to the stage and build the proto type I will happily eat my words.

Until then they are a bunch of dreamers that can render pretty pictures.

Captain Danger
11th July, 2014 @ 06:03 pm PDT

@ Captain Danger

In every engineering school I have ever seen the students build things. The more or less local university holds a concrete canoe race every year. The students have to deal with the hydrodynamics of canoe design and coming up with the lightest possible concrete that is strong enough to survive the race.

The boys and girls at Technical University of Eindhoven and the Fontys University of Applied Sciences apparently build cars.

14th July, 2014 @ 03:20 am PDT
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